Postcard News founder arrested for spreading fake news targeting Muslim youth

Bengaluru: The Central crime branch on Thursday arrested Postcard News founder Mahesh Vikram Hegde for allegedly running fake and communally sensitive news.

The Bengaluru Police confirmed that Hegde was arrested for a social media post that was carried on March 18 claiming that a Jain monk got injured after being attacked by a Muslim youth. It was later known that the monk had been injured in a road accident.

“Hegde had been arrested on Thursday on the basis of a complaint filed with the cyber crime police station attached to the Central Crime Branch regarding a fake news item tweeted and posted by Postcard News,” the Police said.

“No one safe in Siddaramaiah’s Karnataka,” the Facebook page of Postcard News said. The post, which was accompanied by a picture of the monk with injuries on his arm and shoulder, has now been deleted.

Postcard News founder was arrested based on two complaints – one of which was filed on March 18 by Gaffar Baig, the General Secretary Bengaluru District Congress Committee. Another complaint was filed in Sanjay Nagar against a story published by Postcard News about Rani Chennamma and Onake Obava.

The police have registered an FIR under sections 153A, 34 (common intention), 66 (dishonest act) of IT Act, 295A and 120B of the IPC, according to AltNews and are investigating the matter.

“Yes, it is true, he was arrested based on the Jain muni post. The Jain muni was hit by a bike while he was walking on the road. He was not hit by Muslim youth as claimed by Hegde,” said the police official.

The online portal is known for creating fake news has been promoted by senior BJP leaders. Hegde’s twitter handle is also followed by PM Modi.

In fact, BJP MP Pratap Simha had on Thursday evening even tweeted about Hegde’s arrest calling it a “cowardly act” by the ruling Congress.

By late evening “#ReleaseMaheshHegde” was trending on many groups that support the ruling saffron BJP. A counter thread “#KeepMaheshLocked” is also trending.